Wednesday, February 12, 2014

Valentine's Day means Healthy Indulgence! Wine & Chocolate!

I tend to be a beer drinker but hey, Valentine’s Day is this month and your gal might appreciate sharing good bottle of wine.  So go ahead and indulge, once I arm you with some nutrition facts of course, as I have done my best to cut through all the anecdotal, bro-science out there!
               Make no mistake - I am in no way a wine connoisseur, so brand selection is on you.  And if you currently don’t drink alcohol the medical experts all still say the health benefits associated with moderate wine consumption are not enough reason to start drinking.  Now that I got those two disclaimers out of the way, let’s get on with it!


               Wine consumed in moderation, (1 glass a day for a woman and 2 glasses a day for a man), is widely accepted as good for us and linked to longevity in many cultures.  Alcohol in general, has LDL-cholesterol (‘bad’-cholesterol), lowering properties, and is a vasodilator – dilates your blood vessels, thereby lowering blood pressure – and is relaxing.  This means that alcohol in moderation is heart-healthy for a person currently in good health with no liver problems!  Wine adds in another tier of health because it is so rich in plant-polyphenols from grapes, the most noteworthy being resveratrol.  The high polyphenol content comes from the grape-skins, and since the grapes are fermented longest for red wine, not only does red wine contain more resveratrol content, but it is also lower in sugar.  (Remember, alcohol is NOT sugar.)  All polyphenols are also antioxidants as well, which mean they bind to free-radicals and repair oxidation damage.  Oxidation is a normal metabolic process of all oxygen breathing mammals, and it’s free-radical byproducts are also normal.  In fact, our bodies are very much equipped to handle all oxidative damage and repair, if we just get out of own way, and actually, consuming too many anti-oxidant supplements will actually prohibit proper post-workout repair and adaptation.  Also, the jury is still out in the efficacy of consuming resveratrol in supplement form, so for now you’re better off obtaining it through whole-foods, grapes and wine.  You can also drink grape juice, but your Valentine might not be as stoked if you show up with a bottle of grape juice instead of a nice Merlot.  Plus, grape juice has way more sugar content than wine does, per serving – just sayin!
This article was originally written by me for Four EL magazine, FEB 14 issue


Monday, February 10, 2014

How to Train for a Sprint-Distance Triathlon: A Beginner's Guide to Complete a Triathlon!

Welcome to the sprint-distance triathlon, which is more appropriate for first-timers, and I actually have completed about 6 sprint-distance triathlons, mostly trail events, so I know a thing or two about preparing for them.  A sprint-distance is an introduction to triathlons, yet very much so the full experience.  It is shortest in distance, less than both Olympic distance and The Ironman.

New Year Resolutions Love Races

What better way to kick off your New Year’s fitness plan than by signing up for a race?  Signing up for a race accomplishes something that most other weight-loss programs don’t:  It provides a looming deadline and the accountability that comes along with it, especially if you post that you registered on social media – now you have to do it or you will look like a scared, flake!  Completing a race also provides a huge feeling of accomplishment and pride, because you passed a mental & physical challenge the moment you step across that finish line.  You just can’t get that feeling from your ‘Weigh-Watcher’ or ‘biggest-loser’ group.  What’s important is not necessarily what type of race or event you choose, but sticking to the specific training plan and completing it.  It can become addicting – in a good way!  Almost all diet-plans focus on calorie reduction and food elimination, which just plan sucks.  When you are preparing for a race, you are focusing on the training, and food becomes fuel instead of your enemy.
Photo by Patrick Giardino